Dan & I trekked out to Ka'ena Point (the Northwestern tip of Oahu) yesterday, going in from the Mokulē'ia (North Shore) side.
After parking in the lot at the end of the paved road, we walked the jeep track to the vehicle barrier, then climbed thru the gate. The jeep track is a pretty ugly walk: while you can stop and look at the mountains, it is so rutted and uneven from off-road vehicles that you better stop while looking, or risk a fall and a turned ankle. Much of this portion of the track has brush high enough on the ocean side to cover that view. Still, there are more than glimpses, and it is pretty nice in spots.
It was too windy to be hot, which this walk can be in spades. I lost my hat a few times, and twice my glasses with it, but no damage done.
Plenty of people had driven in and parked near the shore, putting up tents and sun shades, set up several fishing poles, and seemed to be having a fine time.
Once thru the barrier we were on a proper hiking trail, mostly sand and basically flat, with a view of the shore. There are steel wires on metal stakes to keep people on the trail, away from the endangered plants and the nesting Laysan Albatrosses. There are also Shearwaters nesting there, tho we didn't notice any. We also saw several box traps, which I suspect are for mongoose, a major predator of ground nesting birds like the Albatross and Nene goose.
Dan with the same family:
Dan spotted some whales going by. At first they seemed to be swimming in a circle, but finally made up their minds and headed east.
There were also a couple of monk seals hanging out on the rocks. They are endangered, and one is not supposed to get withing 50 feet or so of them. Yesterday people seemed to be respecting that restriction, tho we have in the past seen people getting within prodding - and biting- distance. Bad idea, especially if there is a pup about.
Here is some naupaka, which is an endangered beach plant. Very little remains anywhere in the islands, and it was apparently pretty torn up at Kaena point by off road vehicles until the state turned it into a reserve and put up the barrier.
Also Dan, surrounded by naupaka while we were watching the whales and seals. The trail goes thru a lot of naupaka- we weren't in a prohibited area.
A couple guys had some success fishing with throw nets. Here they are heading off with their nets around them.
On the way out we passed a group of about 10 Laysan Albatrosses. I shot a bunch of pictures of one in flight, but they were all pretty blurry. Here is one settling his wings.
All in all, it was tiring, but a nice hike. Here is a link
to a useful state DLNR brochure about the reserve, plants, and animals to see there.This is also a useful DLNR site.
I found the first dozen or so responses to a Google search for 'kaena point trail' remarkably uninformative: One said it is "fairly long," another that it is 1.7 miles from the parking area to the point, another that it is two miles, another 2.5 miles, and another 3 miles. One said "BE PREPARED FOR CRIMINALS" and "Nothing happened to our group or vehicles, but there was "evidence" of criminal activity in this remote area which can be unsettling for some..." So, what KIND of criminals? Litterbugs? Rapists? Pot smokers? What was the evidence? Empty solvent drums? Smashed windows and cleaned out cars? Hikers' bloating corpses?
And just how should one prepare for criminals in a state which requires a permit to carry a pistol, but which also refuses to issue permits? Carry a litter bag?
UPDATE: For another take on the hike, here is Dan's post at Regruntled.com.
Labels: birds, hikes, pics